Afternoon Edition: March 1, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Boxes of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are shown at the McKesson Corporation in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021.

Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo, pool

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 34 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 19 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny and warmer with a high near 44 degrees.

Top story

Johnson & Johnson’s one-and-done vaccine arriving in Chicago this week, mayor says

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today she expects Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine to arrive in Chicago in a day or two and the city is ready to put the third option to immediate use.

Two days after the Food and Drug Administration cleared the J&J vaccine for emergency use, Lightfoot told reporters she’s chomping at the bit to take advantage of the one-and-done option it provides.

“We anticipate that it will be here, if not today, then tomorrow. I don’t have a firm lock on what the amount of doses is, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. But we do expect it here this week,” the mayor said at a news conference on the gradual re-opening of Chicago Public Schools.

“We will put it to work as soon as we get it. CDPH has been preparing now for some time, as we saw the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, kind of moving through the regulatory approval process. And it gives us obviously another tool to use to get people vaccinated. So, we’re excited for that opportunity.”

Johnson & Johnson initially is providing a few million doses of its one-shot vaccine, with shipments to states expected to begin today. By the end of March, the pharmaceutical giant has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses, ramping up to 100 million doses by summer.

Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna require two doses that are 95 percent protective against symptomatic COVID-19.

Johnson & Johnson’s one-and-done shot is 85 percent effective against severe COVID-19. In testing, it dropped to 66 percent when moderate cases of the coronavirus are added to the mix.

Read Fran Spielman’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. More than 37,000 Chicago Public Schools students in kindergarten through fifth grade were expected to return to their classrooms today, with another 18,500 in sixth to eighth grade set to return next week. That’s the largest group to return since the pandemic started, although 145,000 have chosen to continue learning remotely.
  2. Chicago actress and stand-up comedian Erica Watson died in Jamaica on Saturday from COVID-19 complications, according to a family member. Watson, who was 48, had appeared on many local TV programs and shows such as “The Chi” and “Chicago Fire.”
  3. A Chicago police officer died this morning of an apparent suicide in the Town Hall police station on the North Side. Officer James Daly was a 21-year veteran of the department, according to Supt. David Brown, who said he was “heartbroken.”
  4. Illinois reported an additional 1,143 new COVID-19 cases today — the lowest daily count in seven months — as the state continues to see a sustained decline in the positivity rate. The state’s seven-day positivity rate stands at 2.4%, the lowest since June.
  5. While many office buildings remain quiet due to the pandemic, the Near West Side continues to lure investments from major players. Among the projects is a tower of high-end condos being constructed where Hubbard Street Dance once stood.
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A bright one

Chicago stage alum KiKi Layne works with comedy royalty as prince’s daughter in ‘Coming 2 America’

In rapid succession, 29-year-old KiKi Layne has hit an actor’s trifecta, with knockout performances in three distinct genres.

She played the romantic lead Tish in the acclaimed drama “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018). She was the South Side native turned U.S. Marine turned immortal mercenary Nile Freeman opposite Charlize Theron in the badass sci-fi action film “The Old Guard” (2020).

And now she’s Princess Meeka Joffer, daughter of Eddie Murphy’s Prince (soon to be King) Akeem Joffer, in “Coming 2 America,” the most hotly anticipated comedic sequel since … well, you tell me if you can think of a more suitable candidate to fit the label.

That’s some one-two-three punch of movies.

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Princes Meeka (KiKi Layne) faces off against her father, Zamunda’s Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy), in “Coming 2 America.”

Amazon Prime Video

“I’ve been very intentional about not being put into a box,” Layne told our Richard Roeper. “I’ve always wanted to push the boundaries of perception about actresses who look like me, so I could [go beyond] the types of stories we usually fall into. I really, really wanted to push against that.”

In “Coming 2 America” — premiering March 5 on Amazon Prime Video — we pick up the story some 30 years after the events of the 1988 original, with King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) near the end of his long and prosperous reign as ruler of Zamunda, and Murphy’s Akeem posed to ascend to the throne.

“I wasn’t even born when the original came out, but we watched it so many times in our household when I was growing up. It never gets old, it always makes us laugh and brings so much joy … it really is a part of my childhood. Now being the princess of Zamunda is honestly blowing my mind.”

Read Roeper’s full interview with Layne on “Coming 2 America,” which premieres Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

From the press box

Former Bulls star Joakim Noah is officially retiring from the NBA after 13 seasons. He plans to retire as a Bull after spending the last four seasons with the Knicks, Grizzlies and Clippers.

The Chicago Red Stars unveiled a locally focused group of new investors this morning that includes Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield, former Bears defensive end Israel Idonije and award-winning journalist Sarah Spain.

The addition of closer Liam Hendriks puts the White Sox’ bullpen in position to be one of baseball’s best this year. From Hendriks to Aaron Bummer to Matt Foster, Tony La Russa will have no shortage of quality relief options at his disposal.

And Simeon, which takes on Kenwood tomorrow, remains No. 1 in the latest Super 25 high school basketball rankings from our Michael O’Brien.

Your daily question☕

Did your CPS student go back to school Monday for the first time since the pandemic started? How did it go?

Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: Do you agree with the city’s decision to have speed cameras ticket motorists for going 6-10mph over the limit? Why or why not? Here’s what some of you said...

“Given the record with red light cameras in Chicago, what guarantees that these cameras are going to be accurate in the first place? It’s a cash grab that will benefit the providers more so than the city itself.” — Jim Dewars

“Yes, because it will keep the kids safer.” — Eric Has

“What if drivers need to speed up to move out of the way, to avoid an accident or yield to emergency vehicles? Cameras cannot see what’s done and why it’s done. This is wrong.” — Christine Bock

“No, it’s completely inappropriate and totally comes across as a cash grab and that’s all the people will see and they’ll trust government less. Nice work!” — Darin Drilling

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